November 18, 2007

Insider: Smith's time may be coming

It has been about a month since Malcolm Smith begged off the scout team and a week since coaches first told him to get ready for significant game action.

"I was all excited," said the true freshman, who has made 10 tackles this season, primarily on special teams. "I've been wanting to play in a critical situation."

Smith, though, did not play linebacker at California, after Keith Rivers sprained his left ankle in two places. Kaluka Maiava serves as Rivers' primary backup, and Thomas Williams also knows the weakside linebacker position.

But, on Sunday, coach Pete Carroll went out of his way to note, "I wouldn't hesitate to put Malcolm in this game, the way he's been practicing."

USC plays at Arizona State on Thursday. Rivers has not practiced since the Cal game, although he was out of a boot and in pads Sunday.

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